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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 4, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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i've been in cases like that. where the government decides we're not going to appeal this. notified the senate, notified the house. they didn't care either. so the case died. but it seems to me that as long as you have some process in place that doesn't give to the president the sort of final say in a way that is very difficult to check, and that's why i find most disturbing about the secrecy of the kind of process that i was talking about earlier. as long as you make the claim publicly so the system of separation of powers can allow the dialogue to continue. i don't see it as problematic for the administration to say that we disagree with this law. we think it's unconstitutional. i was involved in the flag burning cases where congress -- the supreme court struck down the texas flag burning statute. every member of congress stayed in every night before the 4th of july weekend this is outrageous.
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we must pass a flag protection act. the bush administration -- >> yeah, david, i was on the opposite side. >> that's right. >> remember where are clients. >> that was an interesting case. because you defended it, but in a very kind of tepid way. >> i beg your pardon? just because i was unsuccessful -- >> not just because. [laughter] >> because during the debates in the house -- right, during the congressional debates over whether to pass, the president sent in his spokesperson who said it would be unconstitutional to pass a statute. they passed the statute the president had said. it wasn't after hard case for us. we signed the president's own lawyers. but senate and house counsel came in and defended it. >> we all defended it -- i think that makes david point very neatly. the counsel through then
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assistant attorney general barr, who was going to become the attorney general of the united states, testified before both houses of congress that even if congress said all of the things that it was being guided to do by professor tribe and officers, the law would still be unconstitutional. congress worked his will. this worked for the problem and it didn't intrude into the progress the way your it. walter. it was our view that responsible arguments could be made, i hope in a nontepid way on behalf of the constitutionality of the flag protection act of 1989. and it really came down to justice harry. because texas versus johnson was your recall was 5 to 4 that texas is anti-desecration. and congress did seek to take
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that into account. we worked with a very able lawyer, michael, that worked with the senate. we also dealt with the house counsel as well. but in the way -- and it's bicameral wisdom, congress divided it up. it seemed that the wisdom and advise is really coming much more from the united states senate, for whatever reason. that was a matter for congress. we worked very collaborately. and the interesting question is whatever when there's an intrusion by the congressional branch. your situation raises that neatly. the president might very well say based upon the advise and
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judgment and military and the chair of joints chiefs of staff is saying this is bad for the military. we are not going to defend it in court. we are just not going to defend it at all. we reply and simply kick this back over to the senate, to the house, they can then decide it. those are very tough judgment calls. it does tug at the bedrock command to take care the laws be faithfully executed. even if you disagree with the laws or that you think the court will find the law unconstitutional, it is still the basic task of the executive branch to defend those laws and not to set itself up as it were as a sort of judicial department. so justice byron white, finally point, felt very strongly. i remember this vividly, i remember this as a law clerk, and justice white really took
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exception to what i think is an almost sacred practice. we believe based upon our announcements, typically, and not always in a criminal case, this conviction cannot in fact stand. it should not have been brought or based on the evidence, the conviction can't stand. even though you won at the court of appeals level. that was a fundamental duty of the executive to take care that the laws being faithfully executed and an intrusion into the article iii branch. you defend, we will decide whether, in fact, the conviction can properly be affirmed or not. >> one small, david, i think technical correction which raises a larger point, i don't believe anybody but the united states, the senate or house can file an appear for a petition. notification is put forward if you are not going to defend the
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constitutionality. sometimes that's because you have prevailed behold. the other side is appealing. the case is already there. they can come in and do counsel. but there's no authority on behalf of senator house counsel. ex parte levitt is a good example. ex parte, congress is part of the anti-subversion of mania in the '50s. prohibited the payment of any government salary to forenamed individuals. who were suspected of being sympathetic to forces of subversion. those four individuals bought suit in the court of claims. and one on the grounds that they were entitled to their governmental salaries, that this was the unconstitutional due
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process and or bill of obtainer to single them out in an legislative enactment. the attorney general concluded and the solicitor general that it was unconstitutional. but they complied with the law. because they didn't pay the money. even though they thought it was unconstitutional and the president said so. i believe it was passed over the president's veto, in fact. they complied with it, they cut off their salary, the individuals won in the court of claims. i read the petition recently, thinking about the "don't ask, don't tell." they filed saying we agree with the decision below in the court of claims holding that is annuation constitutional provision. but at the request of senate counsel, we are filing a me -- petition and also because we
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think it should come from the court. we will be telling you, even though it was filed, we believe the decision below is court. we suggest that it allow counsel representing the house or senate to appear and argue. all of that happens, the solicitor general argued it was unconstitutional. the respondent, they argued it was unconstitutional. counsel argued that it was constitutional, the court upheld a court of claims decision striking it down. that's something that's very good process. and i want to bring california into the mix to see if there are any comments first. the reason that california comes into the mix, the governor and the attorney general in california, when the federal district judge as the shorthand saying struck down proposition 8, what the judge actually held there's a constitutional right that the same sex marriage as it
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violates equal protection clause of the federal constitution to deny a marriage license solely on the basis of the same sex of the partners. the governor and attorney general did not appeal that decision. there were interveners who represented those who had supported a referendum that restored the ban on same-sex marriage in california, and they've attempted to intervene. they attempted to intervene, individuals were actually denied by the judge after the -- after the -- after the fact. but -- but they were allowed to descend evidence. chuck cooper was counsel for those defends the statute that the attorney general declined to support. the interveners appealed to the 9th circuit. i actually think that -- i think
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this case is over. this is a lawsuit brought which really shows the difficulties of these issues. some lawsuits are by somebody that lost a license. if i apply from a hunting license from the state of california, and the hunting commission denied by hunting license and i sue them and win in the trial court, and the state decided, never mind, we're not going to appeal. here's your hunting license -- [inaudible response] >> you know, i'm an animal lover. nothing personal. [laughter] >> are some circumstances -- >> you can intervene for the appeal. you can be granted party status without a procedure. >> but there is a provision. but not when you are a party without article iii.
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you can also come in. but if anybody who has -- has a stake in the outcome is going to appeal, it's not dead. now it's said in the strongest argument that referendum supporters of the whole idea of the referendum is to get around the existing officials. and to defend the referendum. well, the interveners did have a right to defend. there was a challenge to the validity. the sequence was this. california supreme court said there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage on the constitution. and then a referendum was passed to overturn and restore california law to allow man and a woman marriage only. that referendum was challenged on a whole multiplicity of grounds. intervening of supporters -- supporters of the referendum were allowed properly to intervene and defend the validity of the referendum.
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everybody agrees it's valid and changed california law. this is a constitutional challenge. it accepts that the referendum was fully valid in changing california law. now i don't see where there's a right to appeal. >> i think -- i agree with you and i think -- i guess i'm not at odds with president starr. i hate to do that. i think the governor and jerry brown, more than entitled to not defend the statute if they thought -- i actually thought -- i want to play an against role. president bush did a lot of things, including the feingold act. do you think the bill is unconstitutional, veto it and don't defend it. let other people. i think governor schwarzenegger and attorney brown are more than
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able to do that. unless the constitution requires them to do that, i don't know if there's a difference on the california constitution and the federal one. >> to begin a couple of quick questions. >> two minutes. >> how many? >> three minutes. >> yes, questions. that's right. questions. the microphones are open. please step up to the and ask. fire away. yes, sir? >> i had a statement. i had to correct judge starr on the history. i was in the white house council's office on the legislative veto. that went through the white house council office and the president was told olson and starr are right for once. [laughter] >> seriously did want to add a little perspective from very small role in the white house. i don't think the other
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branches, realize i'm surrounded by judges many of whom i have argued, certainly from the executive branch perspective, other branches do not have the same level of accountability and responsibility for their actions. in terms of if something disastrous happens, the person who adds responsibility is the president of the united states. he is the only one who takes an oath that says preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. every other federal office is support and defend. it's not as controversial as what you have been talking about. there was a government shutdown in the reagan, and clinton administration. they got blamed different ways. both president, and i think every president in that situation will actively disobey fundamental propositions having to do with congress must appropriate money. and they will pay the military and keep in place people who
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they -- who's functions they believe are vital to the protection of the country and also keep the social security checks going. and i'm not aware that anybody has ever complained about that. [laughter] >> the -- you know, judges it's not a secret it's just true that presidents, at least in my experience quite nicely, do not think judges are going to get blamed if they do something that affects the security of the country. and it is very, very easy to discuss these things in the abstract and discuss the role -- you know, the various rights that maybe involved in how the branches should all work together. at the end of the day, there was one human being who was responsible for the safety of the country and preserving it. and that's president of the united states. you know, lincoln said in habeas
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corpus, let all laws fall down so that this one can be preserved. i think we are in the middle of something, let the panelist respond, that's different than anything we have dealt with before. it doesn't fit into the boxes. however we deal with it, if there's another 9/11, if there are the kinds of thing that happened that maybe we learned that some of the investigatory techniques, no one is going to blame the supreme court of the united states, at least not most of the public, not going to blame the congress. it's going to go to the president. i just tossed that out there. >> thank you. any other questions. or statements. we actually welcome. it was a useful commentary, we welcome statements as well as questions. criticisms are out of order. [laughter] >> that being the case, let me
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just conclude by recalling my favorite moment of the constitutional convention -- >> you were there? [laughter] >> close to it. >> he voted against it. [laughter] >> i taught the debates for seven years. with john franklin and william wotenberg. i went through with a group of students numerous times the debates and the convention and few moments are as precious as when nathan gorem asked his colleagues at one point does anyone here imagine that 150 years hence this vast continent will still be governed as a single nation? and not a single delegate rose to say they agreed that would be the case. and we've made that. and another half century or more beyond.
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and during that time, we settled the continent, we lost hundreds of thousands, marshaled millions to end slavery, we combated the most serious depression the world has ever known, we managed to turn back the tide of fascism in europe to end the jim crow regime in the south and end the cold war. that is no small list of achievements for any government established under any constitution. so i think to that degree, it has served us well. we should let the dialogue continue. thank you. >> beautiful. >> that was a great close. >> yeah. [applause] [applause] >> the 112th congress gavels in wednesday with the wearing in of members, the election of a new house speaker, and a vote on new rules. watch live starting at 7 a.m. eastern on "washington journal"
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interviews with members, leadership, reporters, and your calls, right up to when the house gavels in at noon, on c-span. >> look for a replay of the days events wednesday night at 8 eastern on c-span. >> alexander boldin on the hill. what are senate democrats looking to do? >> well, senate democrats are looking to use a procedure known as the constitutional option. and it can only be used on the first legislative day of the session. what it entails is asking for a ruling from the chair to adopt a new set of rules for the 112th
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congress. and essentially asking a ruling from the chair to amend the existing senate rules. the ruling would only need to be ratified by a majority vote in the senate. and that's important because usually it takes 60 votes to pass any legislation in the senate because of the filibuster rule. and it takes during the rest of the year, it takes 67 votes to change the legislative rules. or rather the procedural rules in the upper chamber. they are looking from a ruling from the chair to change the filibuster rule to make it tougher for republicans to obstruct legislation on the floor. >> republicans leaders are characterizing this as a power grabby democrats, can you tell us about that? >> caller: well, what the proposal would do, and it has been finalized, it's being worked on right now. number one is would eliminate
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the filibuster on the motion to proceed. right now it takes 60 votes to even begin debate on legislation in the senate. and that really slows downs thing. the other thing it would do is eliminate the use of secret holds. right now senators can block legislation and nominees unanimously just by placing a hold with their leader. and then the third thing democrats want to do is require the minority party, or the party that's filibustering legislation to actively muster 41 votes to stop action. right now the majority party, the burden is on them. they need 60 votes to get something through the senate. this would now put the burden more on the minority party. and whether it's power grab or not is up for debate. it would certainly make it easier for the minority to get an agenda passed. >> who's leading the charge on filibuster reform? >> caller: well, tom udall, he's the leader. he's been most outspoken on
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this. there are several democrats work, him, including tom harkin, democrat from iowa, jeff merkley, democrat in oregon, and amy klobuchar, democrat from minnesota. >> there any talk of compromise? >> caller: there's talk of compromise. one thing they want a concession from harry reid he'll stop filling the tree. it's a procedural tactics that block republicans or members of the majority party from offering administration that reid doesn't want to hold votes on. >> how will this be brought up when the senate gavels in? >> caller: well, this was -- it was long expected to happen tomorrow. it appears the senate democrats have some disagreements over what should be in the new rules package. so it seems like what they are going to do is they are going to recess the senate at some point
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tomorrow and then reconvene after two week recession. technically it will still be the first legislative day. when they do that, tom udall most likely to make a motion for the senate to consider changes to the rules. that will be ruled on by the chair. it looks like the whole show down is going to be delayed by another two weeks because of some wrangling among senate democrats over what exactly the changing should be. even the postponement isn't official as something that's being negotiated and discussed right now. >> alexander bolton of the hill, we thank you for joining us. >> caller: thanks for having me. >> now a conversation about the housing market. from today's "washington journal" it's just under 40 minutes. >> host: our focus of the u.s. economy and home prices, david blitzer is joining us from new york. he's the manager director and chair of the index committee. good morning, sir.
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thanks for being with us. >> guest: good morning. it's good to be here. >> host: let me show this headline from last month in the wall "wall street journal" you are quoted the housing recovery stalls. you are saying in the article it looks like a double dip in housing on the way if not already here. what does that mean in terms of the price of our home, the values of our home, and what that means for the u.s. economy? >> guest: okay. if one looks at home prices and as i think everybody knows, they went up, up, up during most of the decade that's just closing. i guess the 2000 to 2006 home prices went straight up. they peaked may, june of 2006, and proceeded to go straight down. last spring it looked like we were beginning to have something of a rebound and recovery and things were improving. however, the much more recent data at the end of the summer and into the fall the decline
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appears tour resuming. and there was a great deal of concern among economist and analyst looking at homes and home building, home construction, that prices may go down pretty sharply from here on out. another three to four percent drop and we'll be setting new lows. if one needs the definition of a double dip in home prices, it's the lows that we saw in the past don't hold, we get new lows. and obviously new turns of the numbers. we are very close to that. >> let's put some other information on the table. first of all, home prices in a comparison between october and september dropping in 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the s&p indexes. six cities falling to a new four-year law. and home prices higher in only four metropolitan areas here in washington, d.c., los angeles,
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san diego, and san francisco. based on that, david blitzer, what is the ripple affect in the u.s. economy? >> guest: the ripple affect is something that we have been suffering through for a long time. in a typical recession, in fact, just about every recession from the second world war up until the one where we are trying to pull ourselves out of, home building was a key part of getting out of it. a typical recession would last about a year or a little bit less. and half, 2/3 of the way through there, residential, home prices, anything connected would hit a bottom and turn around. and indeed it would lead the economy out. lower interest rates, you'd have a -- people attracted to buy homes, you'd have construction ramping up, and residential construction would power the economy out. it would grow two or three times faster than almost anything else. this time it didn't happen. staff, it's not really clear
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residents who construction, home prices, anything connected to housing has hit bottom yet. and that's one of the big difficulties the u.s. economy is facing right now. it's that we haven't had that big of boost or that big kick upward from home building. we drove housing so far up and then so far down, plus we had a lot of problems with the housing financial system, that we haven't gotten the kick and i think that's a big reason why we are still sitting with a very sluggish economy and unemployment rate that's, you know, whisper from 10%. >> let me follow up on that point, because in a conversation with home building executives in the washington, d.c. area saying that the problem isn't land, they can get the land. it isn't mortgage rates. because interest rates are at a record low. but the problem is inventory, especially with foreclosures that home builders cannot compete with foreclosures or
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other homes that people can move into because there are so many on the market. >> guest: i think there's a whole lot of truth in his comment. they suppliers of houses, no matter how you measure it, is probably double what it ought to be. if you look at -- you know, recent sales of existing homes compared to the number on market, how much months it would take to run that off. right now it's probably nine, ten, 11 months. the norm or what it ought to be is three to four months. if you look at new homes, it's not quite so severe. the reason there is we've been building new homes at the rate of 500-50,000 a year. the normal rate ought to be north of 1 million homes. the numbers of foreclosures or delinquencies, the people haven't been making their mortgage payments. it's hard to get a grip on.
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my any measure, it's huge. that being the hidden supply weighs over the market. a lot of people believe they should wait to by a foreclosured home. they will get it for 50 cents on the dollar or like. whether that's true or not, it still a huge damper on the market. there are one of two other things i'd add though. there are times when it's more difficult to qualify for a loan, certainly, than it was in 2005 when it seemed like anybody could walk in the door of any mortgage broker and get a loan. that's one issue. it's true land is available. ironically in some of the placeses, especially some of the cities you read off with making new lows, there's too much land and we literally built too many houses and so on. it's places where rand is relatively short, northeast, some spots in california, that have done relatively better in the program. >> host: let me show two graphs. you indicated this earlier, you can see the runup of the price
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of homes from 2000 reaching 100%, and then dropping in half in 2007 and 2008, and below that the number of foreclosures totally about 5 million delinquent loans, loans that are 90 days or more delinquent in the u.s. >> guest: yes. i guess the other thing to add about foreclosures which anybody who's seen the newspapers in the last six months is familiar with. foreclosure system is very complicated. it probably was never intended to deal with the numbers that we have right now. and it's been floating with a lot of difficulties and all kinds of allegations of things being done which clearly shouldn't be done. and that hole tangle is slowing down or delaying working through the supply, getting those houses back in circulation, resolving everything. and it really echoes the big problem that a lot of people, a lot of organizations lost a whole lot of money. and i'm not quote sure we have
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all owned up to that. >> host: could there be a double dip recession because of the housing market? :he has joined us from new york. you can also send us an e-mail or a tweet. dan is joining us from grand island, neb., our lytal republicans. good morning. caller: how message of this has to do with, globalization of art -- how much of this has to do with globalization of our banking system? guest: the home price has not done much to do with globalization. the direct impact of home prices is the way people view their homes and the way that mortgages could be written until now, the combination of those two things. the idea that the value of the home could never go down, which
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until 2014 when turkey as absolute. and on -- until 2004 everyone took as an absolute. there was no incentive for the lender to make sure that the borrower was going to pay back the loan until now. a number of european countries, especially spain and great britain, had housing booms and busts of their own. host: kathleen says on our twitter account -- that sentiment was pretty prevalent in the mid part of this decade. guest: it was, but i think everybody wanted to believe, and they did believe.
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all of the indicators went to the direction that we should have woken up. the million dollars check and what it cost to buy a home, all of those figures were completely out of line. income levels were completely out of line, but people kept making mortgage loans. this kind of boom and bust is not unique to housing. mcvet the stock market over the last couple of decades. -- look at the stock market over the last couple of decades. it is the same thing. housing has real break and mortar and is not just paper and electronic blips, but it can happen to housing, too. host: david blitzer is in charge of the committee that has overall authority over index of security. joining us from pennsylvania, eve, good morning.
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caller: if you traveled the united states 15 or 20 years ago there was a lot of farmland. now that has decreased so much and houses are in place of those farm lands. the housing market has been saturated with new homes and people cannot afford to buy them. the prices are so high. they are selling cheaper homes to buy more expensive homes. but they cannot pay the mortgage for the heigl home. -- for the more expensive home. we are never going to get out of this recession. it we ought to find a way to maybe rent those houses or sell those houses a lot cheaper. that is the only way that i see. i do not know what you think about that. guest: as you suggest, and i think it is the housing executive of that we talked about a few minutes ago. there is a lot of supply on the
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market. there are a lot of houses available, and until the -- until we move that to a more reasonable level, it will be hard to get everything moving again. that is a concern. if one looks around the country, what one sees is areas where land was cheap and readily available, the southwest, las vegas and phoenix, for example, a south florida, including miami and tampa, those are areas where we'll hold houses like crazy and we have unoccupied homes, half build homes. that is where there are very large problems. on not quite sure it is the same as the disappearance of forms. that is a much longer-term item that has been going on. though people do not always recognize it, it reflects in part the incredible productivity of american agriculture.
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we no longer need all of those farms, even though we are feeding two or three times more people that we were a quarter century ago. host: robert is on the line for david blitzer. caller: david, i cannot believe the way you can show up on tv and spot where you are spotting. you read that cheap paper aaa that one around the world, selling those bonds or whatever you want to call them to unsuspecting people. because they respected organization as being capable of reading that paper aaa or jump. you rated everything aaa and it turned out to be jump. now we are in the debacle that we are in now. guest: as i will explain in a
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second, i cannot really comment on the caller's remarks. that does not mean i agree or disagree. standard and poor's has many differing units. the area that i worked in is the index area, s&p indices. we are probably best known for the s&p 500, among other things. while i know personally some of the people that work in the credit rating agency, i have no direct connection with them. although i have been with s&p for 30 years, i have never worked in the ratings area of during those years. i do not have any detailed knowledge of the rating agency or how the decisions were made or what the analyses were. therefore, i cannot comment on the ratings for their impact or anything related to them. obviously, i have heard comments like yours before. because i do not have any detailed knowledge, i cannot express an opinion.
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but i do call -- thank you for calling in making those comments. host: let's bring it back to what americans are facing. and this is from the "wall street journal" in the november decision -- edition. christina and her husband took morta second month -- second monthly payments by $686, then purchased a $70,000 camper, took a cruise to alas alaska, vacation in belize and then separated and later divorced from her husband and now is for closing on her home.w foreclosing on her home. how often is this being repeated around the country? guest: i guess this is unfortunately, certainly not unusual, although, it is certainly too -- is moving to
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one extreme in that the value went up and with the great power of high tide, these people -- hindsight, these people could have believed that the value was right and it was going to go up and then it collapsed. and has financial difficulties sometimes do, it probably aggravated other issues and concerns. this is obviously a very sad story and i feel very sorry for them. in terms of how often this kind of thing happens, there have been some huge runups. the top of the list is miami, florida, where prices went up something like 180% between the beginning of the decade and december 2006. los angeles, 173%. washington, 150%, and so on down the list. , those have been followed by the stellar collapses as well.
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in florida, nevada, and arizona, those were the hardest hit places. prices went up 150% or so and came down something like 50% or more in a couple of places. huge collapses. it is not only home prices, though, because local economy at goes into it substantially. realistic was a major economy. but secondly, if you look at the auto industry in detroit, michigan, it in detroit you can buy a home on roughly 70 cents on the dollar. this kind of thing has played out all around the country. there are places where home prices remain higher today than they were 10 years back, but even there, that increase is probably inflation plus the
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tiniest bit more. by and large, home prices are no higher than they were 10 years ago. that is a deferred experience than previous decades. host: headline -- that is a different experience than previous decade. host: the headline in the "wall street journal" is "housing cauverrecovery stalls." next caller, go ahead. caller: my comment and then a razor sharp question for you, david. we had a statewide register that was based on the local market real-estate values. when the securitization process took over due to the commodity futures to modernization act -- modernization act, we started to switch over from real-estate values to the values that were created by wall street based on
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my loan value, not my real estate value. when i put 20% down, wall street started calculating its prices for derivatives based on the loan value. they stripped 20% of my equity the minute that happened for the past 10 years. when the sale is made on the courthouse steps, wall street, the day before the sale dictates the price to be used at the courthouse the sale and that is priced based on toxic assets. that is not my home price value. what you use for your information? is that the loan performance or the real estate values? host: thank you. we will get a response. guest: the way these indices are designed and constructed, and i
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should give credit where credit is due. indices are designed by robert schuler, a professor at yale, and a professor at wellesley college. the data that use is actual wholesale transactions from various county and local tax offices, typically. what we do working with a firm called pfizer, we collect the data from all of those local offices around the country, typically where they had real estate taxes and so on. we look at actual transactions only. but we look at real transaction data, not estimates, appraisals, or someone's economic model or anything like that. basing it on actual transactions, plus the technique that we use to put it together, which you call a repeat sales. this means our index does not
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get skewed -- get skewed by the changing of big houses with small ones. that is why we believe it is an accurate index more than anything else. host: one of our viewers right in. -- writes in. guest: i personally do not do economic forecasts. one of my colleagues has a baseline forecast for gradual recovery, or continuing gradual recovery over the course of 2011 ended to 2012. he does have what he would call alternative forecast that would double dip. that would come late in the second quarter and into the third quarter of the new year and probably continue into early next year.
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i think one has to remember that as was once said, how far can an economist look into the future to forecast and he shrugged his shoulders and said six months ago. take this comment -- these comments and my comments with a grain of salt. we do not always know. host: there is a very lengthy article on the bloomberg website. guest: i do not think i have read that article in decatur, but i have seen other articles similar -- in particular, but i have seen other article similar to that. i hope they are right and i am wrong because the outlook is a lot better. in looking at this recent
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pattern that we see in the last four -- 34 months, the numbers have been a bit worse than the month -- three or four months, the numbers have been a bit worse than the months before. a real sharp turnaround in home prices and housing starts and home sales and everything. we do need to see home sales, indeed, or we will continue in this direction for a little while. in housing starts, we built a very few houses. in the northern half of the country is too cold to be able to build a lot of houses. on top of that, there are seasonal patterns in the way that people to shop for homeless. both new homes and existing homes. the families with children, which are large portion of home buyers, want to be in the house in time for children to start the school year, which roughly means they would like to be in the house and settled by labor
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day. and if you back that up, they are in the market may be in april, serving in may through july. that is a critical period. if things are looking good by june, i think there is reason to opt -- to be optimistic. if things are like they are now, unfortunately, the optimism will probably be in his place. host: our guest is david blitzer. barbara is joining us from martha's vineyard in massachusetts. calling to start -- suggest a three part idea. i am 63 years, at -- 63 years old and i just sold a property that we had for 22 years. and i also have two children living in separate apartments. one is in the bethesda area in maryland and one in the boston
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area. i would suggest that we get the congress to set up a new kind of tax structure that would allow a couple of these kids to get together, say my son and a few of his fraternity brothers, with some family money to purchase and mop up this housing inventory that we have. so we can get the kids out of our houses and also get them starter homes themselves. and then maybe have it be a kind of trust vehicle. i'm not clear about what a real estate investment trust is, but that might be one way to structure it. and then that way you can have a couple of families get together and go 50/54 1/3 each. -- bess 50/50 or one-third each. host: i will stop you there. there are a lot of issues on the
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table. we appreciate the call and suggestions and will give our consent -- against a chance to respond. guest: -- our guests a chance to respond. why congresst sure needs to get involved in this as much as we just need to and creative people out there to get it started. there are certainly reports are run the country of investors buying homes at a foreclosure with the purpose of turning them around, could see them up and putting them back to work. there are a few reports, and when i recall, i believe, was in boston, of organizations that step in and help people hold onto their homes as they are foreclosed or buying their own homes back out of foreclosure. it is clearly a challenging effort, but in one or two cases it seems to be working reasonably well. i think we need is an awful lot
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of creativity and thinking. one thing that is very hard for people to do with the housing problem is look at it as an opportunity. but there are spots where one should really do that. there are houses out there that are being sold for far less than anybody expected them to go for a year to five years ago. and there are cases where it does opera -- offer an opportunity to put together a program like that and buy homes. clearly, you have to do it with care. you get two or three unrelated people and buy a house together, they better understand they are -- what they are getting into. and the agreement should be written down. there are opportunities if people get together and get creative to take them. those are showing up. looking at the creativity going
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across the american economy, think this kind of thing will be a big part of slowly but surely working things out of difficulty. host: our guest tour -- our guest is the chair of the standard and poor's index committee. one of our viewers right iwrite- how do you respond to that? guest: there are a lot of difficult questions about the people working on wall street, what happened to some of the people, what should have happened, who was responsible and who was not. it is, without a doubt, a critical question. -- a difficult question. looking back, there were a lot
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of things that were not as correct as they should have been. if we have new financial regulations enacted over the past year, some of them have not been fully fleshed out. if anything, it is a mistake to assume that we have the purposes, and we are done. there is always room for improvement and we will be moving forward. whether this bank or that they got a free ride or got off easy -- whether this bank or that bank got a free ride or body of easy is difficult for me to say in general or even in a specific case. host: the general rate of foreclosures and delinquency on loans dating back to the mid- 1990s is a pretty straight line until 2006 and 2007 and you can see the of take in both foreclosures and delinquency rates in home mortgages. -- you can see the uptick in
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both foreclosures and the lead with the rates in home mortgages. mike is joining us. caller: for about six years we built 40% more houses than we could possibly sell. when you are talking about the housing market, you are not simply talking houses. you are talking lumber, concrete, steel, appliances, roofing shingles. in other words, the entire economy. the first thing someone does when they buy a new home, they buy new furniture. then they go out and buy a new car. for six years, we had this wonderful false economy. we had bush television day box -- we had uchitelle vicente fox, if you get a pin #iowa give you my finances. -- if you will get a pin number, i will give you my finances. this was nothing more than a big
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scam and it will take decades to get us out of this. you have furniture companies going out of business, car dealers. i mean, these people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law under the rico act. every one of them should be as broke as these poor people who did not have a home to live in for the holidays. host: mike, thanks for the comments. david blitzer? guest: i'm not sure how to respond. i would definitely agree that this was a huge economic boom that was not limited to the housing sector, by any means. it and as mike mentioned, -- and as mike mentioned, it go into everything connected to construction, anything connected to going into a new
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home. that was part of the boom that started in about 2000 and extended until about 2006. whether that boom by itself was responsible for other shifts in industrial concentration, i think that is a little more complicated. but he is right, this was a massive bone and unfortunately, it was a massive bus the following right behind. host: i understand you are not an economist, but certainly, you have been following the economy and its impact on the housing market. many have said that if we are in a recovery, it could be a jobless recovery. if you are in a home that is worth $100,000 or $200,000 less than what you pay for it and you are out of work, what is the debt cycle? guest: it does not look like, it is a jobless recovery by almost anyone's definition. the unemployment rate has become l.wn at al-nahd
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we have had other jobless recoveries. in 2001 we saw very slow and frustrating job gains. going back to 1991, coming out of the recession, the same thing was true. part of that is true because the u.s. economy has changed a lot. three or four decades ago, manufacturing and employment was a big factor in the room -- in the economy. and when you would shut down and you have massive layoffs. manufacturing is now something like 12 kdot -- 12% of employment. u.f. fewer layoffs and fewer cutbacks because the service sector is less cyclical. that is part of white the whole
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structure has changed. this is, at this point, a jobless recovery and it will be slow in coming back. some of the jobs will never come back. people today find it very difficult to move for a new job or search for a new job because, one, they cannot sell their home and even if they could sell it, they cannot get anything like what they feel is a reasonable amount of money out of it for the sale. that limits mobility. labor mobility has been one of the shining stars of the u.s. economy until recently. host: we are talking about home construction and mortgages according to the census bureau.
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mary is joining us from bethesda, maryland. good morning. ca: i how narro: was just surprised by how america scope of thisdisi discussion is. it seems to me that i have heard velopto a heard l swamps two andar three hours in the desert and swans and took ones away from what it sounds like. i wonder why we are not looking more at how and where we are developing. and you said we do not need forms, but we do need green -- green space and living here in the northeast where there is hardly in the left, it is important to maintain tracks of land -- hardly any left, it is important to maintain tracts of land. host: thanks, mary. but we will get a response. guest: first, i did not mean we
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cannot and farms. i was commenting on the fact that producing food has become far more productive and efficient over the last several decades, as a complement to american agriculture. undoubtedly, there are some cases where we are building mansions three hours away from anything that looks like civilization. i am sure a lot of difficulties like that went on. but i think you are right about intelligent element and the need for green space. if one looks at the northeast, you know, boston, new york, washington and the areas in between, or one looks at california, a couple of things stand out. one, there is relatively less open land that you can't just build houses on -- that you can justui .. permits are more controlled, regulations,
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bureaucracy, would ever turn you want to use. -- whatever term you want to use. and yet, the areas there look a little better. in fact, san diego, los angeles and san francisco are three areas that had huge bones, a big bust, but they have done as well or better than any other part of the country in the last several months in terms of coming out. it is the southwest in florida where they have a lot of problems. bayville a >> everything connected with the housing industry was a big part of their economic base, and when housing shut down, a big chunk of their underlying economy shut down as well. that's one reason why the southwest is facing a lot of economic difficulty. they really got hit with a double-whammy. >> host: he's joining us from
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new york. thank you very much for being with us, taking our viewer calls and comments. we appreciate your perspective. >> guest: thank you. >> the conversation on muslim
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american identity in race relations. topics include the tea party movement and the lives of bullying. this is just under two hours. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everybody. may the peace and blessing of god be upon all of you. thank you for joining us for our 10th annual impact convention. this year is unlike any other year that we've had with the convention. we are trying an innovative new format in response to the requests, suggestions, and the recommendations of previous attendees of the conventions. we are excited about the day we have planned, and before we get that started with that program, i'd like to introduce our southern california government relations director offering a
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brief rerecitation from the holy koran. >> may peace and god's blessings be upon you all. i'm reading from chapter 5: 48. [speaking in foreign language] [speaking in foreign language]
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[speaking in foreign language] language [speaking in foreign language] >> i take refuge with god from satan. we sense the scripture in truth and guarding it in safety, so judge between them by what god has revealed and follow not their vain desires, diverges from the truth that as come to thee. to each among you have you prescribed a law and an open way. if god so left willed, he would have made you a single people,
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but his plan was to test you on what he was begin you so strive in the race of all virtues. the goal of you all is to god. it is he that will show you the truth of matters in which he dispute. god speaks the truth. >> so, it's our 10th annual convention. for 10 years we've been gathering together as a community to hold this convening which means that we have been making an attempt over the years to bring our community together nation to our allies, civic partners, government partners, and beyond in order to hold much needed conversations about the timely and often the controversial issues of the day that are impacting not only the muslim-american community, but at large. we operated on the belief that
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we must have vibrant candid conversations along both channels simultaneously, and that we must find ways to fuse those two conversations because they are inherently related. for that reason, today we are conducting our convention in a unique format. we are having two back-to-back round table sessions like you see the first one in front of us already on two timely subjects, and we have expanded the length of the sessions to allow for a rich open conversation to take place between our panelists and also with you here in our add yen and beyond -- audience and beyond. the beyond aspect takes care of two things. first, we are being recorded by c-span, and the airings will be aired within the next two weeks, so you can refer your family, friends, and contacts to that, and then beyond that, we are
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also doing a live web cast. our folks here at the table are right now taking questions and comments from people not just around the country, but around the world. i've been told already that we have people who are logged in from eight different countries, and at least 13 states, so this conversation takes place within this room and beyond, and so part of what will happen today is in addition to the questions that you submit to our panelists and those offered by our moderators will also be taking questions from the web cast, from indeed around the world today, so with that, i want to talk a little bit about why we selected our theme for this year which is the struggle for america's conscious. in light of all that has taken place this year, and if you close your eyes and think back to what a roller coaster of a year it has been for the muslim community and for america at large, we have been through some struggles that involved race,
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religion, identity, challenges of integration, questions of whether we will be an exclusive country or inclusive country, questions of immigration, radicalization of the future of our country, of congress, of the two-party systems and beyond, not to mention issues around the country and ongoing questions about jobs and beyond. these issues are impacting all of us on different levels, and that's why we are here to talk about them because we cherish the pluralism, the diversity of our country, and the place each of us have in creating a vibrant and healthy and a serious debate and a conversation, and that's what today is, one long, or at least two long conversations, so with that, i will turn it over to salam, the president of impact to moderate or session. oh, one housekeeping item is our
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request if you can keep the center aisle clear because of the cameras in the back, so use the side tables to move around, and there's a water table in the back for those of you who need refreshments. >> thank you all for joining us for this very important conversation. the conversation is entitled the state of our union, race, religion, and american identity. for some decades, we have seen various efforts of groups to raise issues that are considered to be revolutionary intellectually and politically. there was the movement of barry goldwater. there was newt gingrich's contracts for the america and numerous groups associated with ronald reagan about bringing in more fiscal speedometer for our
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country, -- responsibility for our country, and lately there's been the tea party movements that really i think our panelists can talk a little bit about that, but the questions that arise from the tea party movement of are interest -- are of interest to us today, and in particular, the concern of having an african-american president and the response to it. there's an interesting poll that we were discussing before our session commenced today that 40% of people on the right believe that the president is a muslim, and this kind of perception that is out there has in some says driven the sentiment that our country is under attack and there's the theme of it's time to take our country back. another issue is this sense that there is discrime mages against the majority, and therefore the
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shirley sherrod case, the woman, the african-american woman fired based on statements contributed to her that were later retracted and an apology was made from the secretary of agriculture for firing her, and also the 1070 case in arizona that involves immigration and really a kind of scrutiny and a kind of measure that is invasive in terms of people's private lives and identity, and so this kind of phobia is affecting all of us, and we have said this phobia is just part of the chain in america. it is an american problem, not a muslim problem. for that reason, we have asemilled this very distinguished panel to talk
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about this and where is our pluralism today? are we seeing something we have not seen in the country, or is this part of the process in terms of immigration and pluralism throughout american history. with that, i'll introduce our panelists starting on my far right, but not politically on the far right, angela is with the justice center and they are involved in conflict resolution bringing different parties, different groups to the center for very candid discussions about race, about identity and pluralism, and some of you may know that angela also became a very outspoken figure during the 1992 unrest in los angeles and was really part of the healing process in los angeles. next to her is rashad, he is
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formally also the deputy associate counsel to the president, and he has received his dock rat from yale university and engaged with several conversations here and abroad on the status of muslim americans and on u.s. policy towards the muslim world. next to him is fernando. we actually had the privilege of going to the vatican to the on an interphase trip sometime back in the 90s. he is the director for the center for the study of los angeles, and follows demographic shifts, polling, public opinion, and is a pollster, i believe, for some political groups. to my left is reem, a civil
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rights attorney doing some post-9/11 cases in coordination with the aclu, and is also involved with the number of young muslim groups throughout southern california and has been a speaker in many islamic centers on that issue in terms of the sentiment coming from young muslim americans. to her left is pastor roberts, the founding pastor of the northwood church in dollars-fort worth, and coming from an evangelical background, bob roberts has been at the forefront of dialogues with muslims both here in the united states and abroad, and finally, we have reverend madison shockley. we also got to know each other in the 1992 unrest and before that in the gulf war and the
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peace coalition we were working on back in the early 90s, i think 1990 and 1991. madison is the pastor of pilgrim united church of christ in carls bad, california and director of the youth services in san diego county. i have made the introductions brief. if you would like to know more both them, you can google their names, and definitely when we google, we find out not only what we want to say about ourselves, but what our political opponents have to say about us, so have at it. this is a political conversation and we'll have a brief conversation here on the stage and turn to you and people on the web who can also ask questions to continue the conversation. i want to start with fernando. >> uh-huh. >> you know, in terms of the tea party movement, as i stated earlier, there seems to be this concern of anti-white
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discrimination that muslims and african-americans and latinos and asian-americans are getting preferential treatment and therefore there's a strong grievance driving what's happening in tea party movements, and interesting to know two candidates to the far right in new jersey lost, but it's still a phenomena. can we describe what's happening politically in terms of public sentiments that's driving these views to the tea party movement? >> yeah, it's not unusual to have political differences and people get displaced and become uncomfortable with what is happening, and they look to return to a romantic past and they look at that as socially
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stable, and they associate that with white christian america. now, nothing could be further from the truth that people are very selected in how they view america's past, and america has always been diverse clearly in the native americas, and in los angeles, one of the whitest cities ever enumerated in the census and was started by a very diverse population, the first settlers in 1781 were african-american and european and north american origin. there is that response. interestingly enough, the narrative in the past selection especially looking at the results was the tremendous republican victories that occurred in the house, and a lot of that contributed to the tea party. the second narrative is how that incredible wave stopped really in the western states.
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nevada, colorado, the state of washington all elected or reelected democratic senators where they suspected a republican might win, and the whole california story where not a single tea party candidate won in california, and as a matter of fact, democrats overwhelmingly won. you mentioned newt gingrich and the contract for america in 1994, very similar wave. in 1994 you have to recall that the republicans in california captured four of the seven statewide offices including the gubernatorial election and captured several congressional offices, captured the state assembly, and also passed proposition 187, and so many people compare 2010 and 1994 as very similar, and it's true nationally, but at the state level in california, nothing
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could be further from the truth. it actually was -- california was very different, and why is california different? it's the diversity and the degree to which we are comfortable with it even to the extent you talked about polling. i've been tracking polling at the city of los angeles and state of california nationally, but even whites in california including republicans are much more tolerant of different groups, specifically latino, african-americans, in terms of winning public office than ever before, and because they are comfortable and aware of the situation in california, after the country becomes more comfortable with that, i believe you'll have less movements than the tea party tends to try to create that environment. the tea party was a significant player, but i would in terms of the analysis i've done, i would
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not attribute any true republican victories to the tea party. in other words, i believe that many republicans would have won those seats that tea party republicans won whether it's kentucky or different places. as a matter of fact, one could attribute the loss that, for instance, in delaware or in nevada where clearly the republicans should have won and probably would have won had they not nominated tea party activists, so the tea party, i think, hurt and actually prevented the republicans from capturing more seats than they would have had it just been a typical 1994 type of election, and i'll stop there for the moment. >> well, angela, fernando gave an excellent analysis politically, but what's happening at the grass roots level? what's the sentiments of various groups in response to some of these sentiments that are coming
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from phobic groups? >> well, you know, i want to remind everyone that we are in a place in time where we understand discrimination and racism to manifest itself at three very distinct levels. at the individual level, at the institutional level, and then at the structural level, so at the graze roots on the individual level, for example, at the western justice center, we do a lot of education. we believe that that's the only vehicle really, and we focus a lot on children because they are the future. not to sound cliche, but, in fact, that is where we put a lot of our energy. we work with school districtings, and you know, there is a skill to doing conflict resolution work. it is not just understanding the concepts. our mission is to displace the power of violence in society. that's a huge mission.
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what does that even mean? you know, it's no longer a time when people are comfortable with intragroup organizing only. for example, the problem with structural racism can only really be addressed in white people begin to educate white people. i mean, they are the social and cultural distance is not as great. great, you can go to other parts of the country and other parts of the world to try to set things right, try doing it in your own back yard and own family, okay? these are challenges we're starting to put out, you know, conflict resolution, listening, really listening, not just with your ears, but your whole being. it's the hardest soft skill that you're going to ever learn. we work with police officers. we work with gang-involved
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youth. we work with schools both at the teacher level and the student level. we will work with parents who are at the loss of what to do when their child comes home and it's been made fun of or humiliated or bullied. we are trying constantly to do up no vaitions in this space -- innovations in this space. the people are not easily able to embrace change, change with what you saw the rallying cry to be a few years ago, and of course, change is really difficult. people don't really want it. i used to use an example. in new york, they changed some of the area codes for phone numbers. it created such a disruption that it made the front page of the "new york times". if people can't deal with area code change, how are they going to be dealing with changes in their communities?
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with cultural changes, political shifts, with a new voice emerging? so we just heard the dream act wasn't passed this week. the senate rejected it after the congress, the house passed it. the lives of so many young people who through no fault of their own are put in this really, you know, great state, and -- grave state, and how are they going to negotiate those waters? they are not allowed to do so in a political way or empowered to do so through their position economically leveraging things, but they're going to continue to organize, and those voices will not be silenced. they will continue to be heard. i think there's going to be a ground flow. as far as the tea party is concerned, i think it's very important to learn what happened here because this is a ramp up to 2012. there is going to be a huge challenge to the current administration for all the reasons that you're discussing here over the next day, and that
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ramp up began more than a year ago when we were running up to this year's election. the demographic data that are coming out this year along with the experiences, now we've identified who the players are in the tea party who are going to mobilize nationally. we've identified what their messages are. we've identified what the infrastructure looks like. there is a lot of work going on right now, and 2012 just for those of you who follow the chinese calendar, and you don't have to believe it, just thousands of years old and millions of human beings that came up with it, but in 2012, we are talking about the year of the dray gone. it's a significant year. next year is the year of the rabbit. you know what rabbits are like. that's what the energy will be next year, but the year of the dragon is 2012. >> okay. well, with rabbits and dragon
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and demographics, let's turn to texas. bob, you're from texas. do you see the same thing coming from your neck of the woods or is it a different assessment all together? >> i think most people know that texas is an overwhelmingly democratic state, and so as a result of that, we have more liberal views than most places in the country. [laughter] no, i would say i don't think you can position the current conversation in the world around democrats and republicans and conservatives and liberals. that's a previous generation's way of defining the world that frankly i belong to, but when i look at people like rrk ashad coming into the forefront, i honestly believe the world we are inheriting it a radically different world and so as a result of that continuing to define our culture in our world
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just in two terms is not going to cut it. you know, i'm not a researcher like you are, fernando, but i work with young pastors in america. we start many churches. i work with many young people volunteering in the world and engaging the world, and the reason president obama was elected because young white evangelicals were one of the groups that help put him in office. it was not just the democratic party turning out. had there not been evangelicals promoting him, he never, i believe, made it to office. i believe that we know the world is shifting. it's a scarry world. change is right around the corner, and we don't have the right templates or paradigms for understanding the current world we face, so as a result of that you're going to see 5 lot of -- a lot of tea parties. i don't know if the democratic party will be the moose party, i don't know, but i think you'll
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see the rise of third parties of people trying to figure out how do we take the 21st century ace make it work? a lot of the leaders are the baby boomers entering retirement. what is it going to look like for those coming along? i think that there's a sense in texas that we feel because of the metropolitan areas. it's no longer much like people would perceive it, this big white area. dallas-forth worth, 44 president of the population are new americans, there's over 228 languages spoken in dallas. in 1995 there was one mosque, and now there's 25. in my community alone, we have a mosque, we have a buddhist
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temple, churches, a synagogue, it's all present, and not everyone goes to those, so i think the world that we are living in right now has shifted. we are all connected, and the biggest problem is we don't know how to talk to one another, and there's no privacy anymore. that's a wonderful thing in one sense because it forces us to have one conversation, and what was said is incredibly true. we don't know how to talk among our own tribe. i've been reading to my cousins that are muslims. i love you guys. i've come to know you over the last few years from around the world, but my problem is not loving muslims, jews or anyone else, but my biggest challenge is not getting crus mid by my own tribe of loving people of another tribe. i met muslims facing the same thing. the largest mosque and synagogue
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in and our church came together. i'm an evangelical. it's the more conservative christian. it's not a thing for liberal churches to reach out, but for a conservative church, it is. me and the rabbi brought conversations together in january, and not just us, but our congregations, so friday we all went to the synagogue, ate kosher desserts and then did q&a. sunday we did it at the mosque and at our church. it was an incredible experience, but what we all three learned from that is our biggest challenge was our own tribes from the rabbi to myself, it was fascinating because here i am as an evangelical, a passionate believer in religious freedom writing blogs supporting, you know, the mosque being built,
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while the others are saying let's be patient. we were arguing one another cases with one another's tribes without realizing that. i think what's making it complicated is everything is present, everything. we're connected. if i want to know what muslims think about me, go to the muslim website. if i want to see what muslims evangelize, just google a christian great commission. you can know anything you want about anybody. the problem is we have a lot of smart people that don't know how to speak with one voice in a global conversation in a clear way where people can understand them. that's what's not happening. >> okay, thank you, bob. [applause] madison, how does it look from your lens in terms of these
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kinds of issues, in terms of what's happening in the progressive field? >> well, i'm -- first, i want to commend you for the theme of this conference and for the theme of this panel, and those that have gathered because this is the kind of conversation that needs to take place not just here, but throughout this country. it takes muslims to be brought together. [laughter] and it highlights the formula i want to start with. the problem right now is that there's no place to have a conversation. there's no common ground. there's no common language. words mean different things to different people, and most importantly, there's no common set of facts that can adjudicate that conversation, and one's operating on their own set of facts. i'm in a unique cross-cultural
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situation. a black pastor of a primarily white-an -- anglo congregation. in north county san diego, we have those who oppose the mosque being built there, housing laws that would prevent landlords from renting to undocumented persons. it was overturned, but it was passed in the city. we have vista california where they are harassing day laborers assuming everybody is undocumented and posing regimes that just make it hard to live, and there's this kind of paranoia just in the air about people who are different, that is shocking to me having moved from los angeles with a whole different atmosphere to north county san diego, and when i listen to my members who are
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fort most part liberal, progressive people, they are brother and sister and cousin literally to members of the tea party, and that's what's so enlightening to see that even among the white community, there's not a place for a conversation, and they get all these e-mails with all this madness and craziness, and they stimmy sometimes -- simply sometimes shut down the conversation with their own families. when i moved there in 2004, it was in may and as the first holidays came around, a got a number of my members coming to me after the election in which bush was reelected, and they said, oh, i have to go to thanksgiving. i can't stand it. i said what do you mean? i have to talk to my right winged brother-in-law, and so, this is simply continued, but i think in this moment what's important about the title of the
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conference and american identity, you've nailed it. do not neglect this talk within the tea party and beyond about american exceptionalism. that drives their world view, and american exceptionalism has taken a beating in the last four or five years, and the major beating its taken is the election of president obama who refused in their terms to exceed to this political ideology, this political theology of american exceptionalism, so when he refused to exceed to their understanding of that and then you get the statistics mentioned earlier, and there's a lot of overlap that 40% of republicans or right wingers or whomever feel that president obama was not born in the united states, and therefore, is not the legitimate president of the united states because electing
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him was a major psychic shift in this country because the president serves not only as the executive, but also the head of state, and therefore the symbol of the nation, and they were frankly used to looking at a white male as a symbol of our nation that holds it all to the, so everything underneath can be going wrong and wild, but it gets settled out because there's a white man at the top. that image was changed profound, i believe psychological harm was done to many who clung to that ideology, so now you have set in a kind of mass hysteria that says the president is not the elected, dually elected president, that he is a muslim, and as well as at the same time a radical christian, formally belonging to my domination, united church of christ, and
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there is no way to engage people in a reasonable fashion about how we move forward, so the mosque or the islamic center in new york, why that was such a controversy was because of the feeling of impotence that those who adhere to american exceptionalism have. 9/11 was the first strike. it was an exposure of america's vulnerability because we had an image that the rest of the world was subject to these things, but we with weren't, so the strike of 9/11 exposed as a vulnerability. the idea that a muslim congregation could erect a building on what they call ground zero whom their own impotence failed to erect their own monument.
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i think it would be different if that monument was constructed, but that is fine to them of this rise of islam, and they see it because muslims are part of a society, they see it as a threat because the person at the very top, the president of the united states in their mind is a secret muslim who has a conspiracy of cooperation with international muslim to take over the united states, and so everything's connected to that poses this disproportioned threat to everything they do. it represents the ascend of islam and what they view as a primarily christian nation. it's not subject to medication or other typical treatments. [laughter] >> on that note -- [laughter]
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[applause] you traveled throughout the world. europe, obviously, has a different structure from the united states, but some people feel like we are approaching the way europe is structured in terms of having the power held by the few, the exceptionals, and the rest of us are visitors. tell us a little bit about the structure in europe, how it relates to the united states, and how you see things changing here in america. >> well, before i do that, i'll back up a little before that. i work with creating partnerships with people all over the world including muslims. we are focusing on moving forward in a way that emphasizes what we share in common, every sizes our -- emphasizes our similarities and mutual respect going back to the landmark address in cairo rs and
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it's not focused on differences that we have politically, racially, ethnically, and when we talk about these issues, what we're constantly saying is that when you look at muslim communities, you look at muslims, we should understand that muslim people share the same fundamental concerns, same fundmental aspirations as everyone else. when we engage in these conversations, the first topic of discussion shouldn't necessarily be issues of security or, you know, the controversy of the day regarding the building of a mosque because on a day-to-day basis, what muslims are worried about are jobs just like everyone else. they are worried about education for themselves, their families. they are worried about taking care and supporting their families. they are worried about health care for their families, and that's not only true in the united states, but in and around the world, so in our work in
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partnering with muslim communities and other communities, you know, it's important that we work in a way which creates initiatives and partnerships and entrepreneurship to deal with issues like the economy, for example, and in science and technology and health, and in other areas as well, and that's not to say that there aren't very important political issues that have been sources of tension between the united states and muslim communities around the world, but it's important that we realize those are not the only issues by which we engage muslim communities. i think we're far too wrong when people think of muslims around the world and hot-button issues come to mind. our approach is different. it's to engage people based on what we all share. now, of course, there are real issues, real concerns, and those are the issues that, you know, tend to get the bulk of the headlines, more so than creating
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partnerships and child health or the eradication of polio or entrepreneurship, and there's no doubt that the concerns are real, but there's also another powerful narrative that's building. 23 you look at some of -- if you look at some of these controversies such as the controversies of the proposed burning the koran, here's a case of an individual with a congregation probably ten times smaller than the amount of people in this room here came up with an idea that was rejected immediately by other evangelicals in florida. the city of gainsville denied a permed to go forward with that activity and it was condemned by the left and right. you have a narrative of people coming to the and a press conference's major leaders from all religious faith, all ethnicities, and all races condemning the sentiment seen in
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parts of the country. pastor roberts mentioned dallas. when i grew up there, there was one mosque. talk about opposition to billing a mosque, and now there's 43 mosques in the area. on the issue of europe which you raised, you know, there's polling data that shows, for example, on the issue of the head scarf that americans overwhelmingly reject restrictions on religious freedom and what individuals can and can want wear -- cannot wear being implemented by the government. i think there are areas of serious concern which are the ones we've focused on, but i also think it's important to understand, you know, that there is another narrative that's also building, and even an issue like ground zero. when we spoke about ground zero, it wasn't that muslims were somehow the exception, but it was very much in the context of
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just like christians have the right to build a church, just as hindus have the right to build a temple and jews a synagogue, muse muslims too have a right to build their place of worship. we focus on mutual interest and respect on what brings us together, and i think there's powerful allies of that way of thinking as well that also emerged in the last couple of years. >> re creating partnerships m, you talk to a lot of young people, and there are times when i read about people from all backgrounds, and they just don't get a sense that their american identity is very strong, and that may affect our pluralism. do you get thatceps from talking to -- sense from talking to various groups in what you see in terms of civil rights in this
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particular era? >> well, i think for me i can speak more about the muslim community specifically because that's where i worked a lot, and, you know, while i appreciate what rashad is saying, there is definitely a sense of nativism in america that has caused a lot of muslim's youth to feel very austerized and targeted, and a lot of times that targeting, they feel the targeting is not just coming from their peers, but also from the government above which makes is very, very difficult for them to feel american and connected to that sense of americanism. one thing that really is very striking is the way that muslims are portrayed in the media, and you know, while a lot of muslim youth and a lot of muslims see the media as not reflective of the truth, there's a point where it becomes consumed, and they begin to see themselves through the lens of the media.
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in the media when we read and hear about muslims, they are divided into three crosses. the muslims who read and pray, the good ones, and then the financiers of terrorism, and then the terrorists themselves. muslims are completely stripped of the since of just being americans and being humans. it is something that is becoming more and more difficult particularly now where there is a focus on homegrown terrorism and the idea of a lone wolf like the kid in portland, oregon, and the youth in baltimore who were basically trying to engage in these terrorist actions through the prodding of the fbi, and this continued rhetoric and this continued con flags of islam and terrorism and muslim, american-muslims in terrorism which is becoming threatening to a lot of muslim youth who are
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becoming more and more isolated and feeling more and more under attack, and also because it has become the discourse and the understanding of a lot of americans throughout this country where muslims are seen as the other, and so there is tremendous increase in bullying and harassment in schools. one thing that's really interesting when both you and i went, the mosque, you know, madison was talking about the mosque out there, just hearing a lot of the rhetoric that's come out it's been uncensored. you know, hearing about how a flag is going to be flying over the white house. this was in front of a planning commission. just hearing the uncensored comments was shocking to me, was shocking that this has become acceptable, and that there is no sense of need to censor that rhetoric which for many muslims including youth and individuals
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like myself, it does create a sense of austerization and the sense of fear and wanting to be american, but really feeling rejected in many ways from being american. >> well, back to that in terms of particular what's happening with young muslims, but i want to go back to fer nan doe. today, the senate voted on the dream act, and it failed, so there's not going to be immigration reform for the time being, so can we also distract from that there's a large community here in the united states that doesn't feel like they belong? >> well, what we're talking about a exclusion, and then we're talking about how do we get previously excluded groups to be included in the political, social, religious life of america, and this is one case where -- and part of the problem is that we conflate, if we were just to simply talk about the dream act and getting young kids brought
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here very young who are immigrants that are undocumented, done everything the american society says you should be in america, they are the een pitmy of being american, and yet they are not american, and this really to me is something that i live with at the university where i teach. i have several of these kids, and i know several of them, you know, at usc and different places where they have been incredibly successful and done everything asked of them, and yet when they graduate, they cannot do and get a job because they are undocumented. the vote was 55 in favor, 41 against. now, most of us say, well, that's a majority. that should pass. in the senate rules, they needed 60 votes to create closure and bring it for a vote, and of the 55 voting in favor of the dream act, 52 were democrats and 3
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were republicans. of the 41 who votes against it, i think all but four or five were republicans, so there was a partisan aspect to it, and from the republican party, they were piling this with other politics and different messages and some talked about comprehensive immigration reform, but the reality is here that they had a moment to talk about america's conscious, to talk about america inclusion, to talk about the best and the brightest that we have out there and bring them into american society, and they failed, and they failed, and i'm ashamed to what has happened, and how we conned this issue. it's going to hurt thousands of kids today. this is not a thee theoretical issue. today, there's tens of thousands
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of kids whose lives could have completely changed, american kids. yes, they are not u.s. citizens, but they were raised here. they have every single american value. they are not mexican or they are not canadian or european or african because they didn't grow up there and they cannot go back. they have no place to go back. most of them don't speak the language of our origin or don't speak p very well, and we abandoned these kids here in our midst, and i got to tell you, it's something that may be pessimistic today. i'm usually optimistic. i believe that race relations have gotten better, and we track that from public opinion pom. i do believe talking about the different incidents in orange county in california, we have to be vigilant against antimuslim, antireligious, antimexican issues. constantly we have to be vigilant, but overall, things
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have gotten better. the progression of american liberalism and inclusion whether it's african-american or women orla teen knows and -- la tee knows, and it will happen, but there's times where we stall and go back, and sometimes when we are in an era where we stalled, we get pessimistic, and i'm pessimistic today. >> angela? >> i'm not. [laughter] i just want to try this out. if you clasp your hands like this. you don't have to raise your hand yet, but just look at your hands and again, you know, you don't have to buy it. it's only thousands of years and billions of people, so they say that people who have their left thumb over their right them tend to be people of the heart, okay? [laughter]
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the people who have their right thumb over their left thumb tend to be people who are more of reason. [laughter] it's very uncomfortable of people who are one to clasp their hands the other way. it's not natural for them, so you don't need to raise your hands about this, but i would guess about half are the left thumb, and about half are the right thumb. i'm going to preference my remarks, so keep in check your tendency. [laughter] okay? yes, the senate rejected the dream act. they also repealed don't ask, don't tell. what does that tell us? politically? i don't play politics anymore. i used to, but i decided the system is so broken and corrupt, that i really cannot, and i have
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to thank with all sincerity people like this young man who has the wherewithall to step right into the most powerful and political office in the world which i played with for a short amount of time back in the late 90s. it's an office that thinks it covering all of us contingencies every day. they run 24/7. there's always an merge and if any american knew, we could spin into crisis out of panic, but they handle it. it's an up credible office? okay? don't ask, don't tell gets passed. what is the political dynamic that occurs in congress? with human beings? you know, politicians are not god, just people who have to ask for money and understand what it takes to get what they want to accomplish as a politician, and so there was a trade made
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somewhere, and we'll never know where unless wikileaks finds a memo. [laughter] and we will be able to understand if you step back just a minute that there was a negotiation that went on at some level that i will give you immigration or don't ask, don't tell in exchange for immigration this time around, and somehow we'll revisit this issue because it's inevitable because there's forces that will bring it up again and again and again. people will never be happy, and people who really play understand politics. this is the thing. we have some of the american people who are very powerful politically who are happy today because don't ask, don't tell was repealed, and then we have other in the american body politics who are very sad today. i don't happen to agree that it's as tragic because i already have in my mind many things these young people can be doing which i will be having separate
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conversations in universities the next quarter about what the other options are which are much more productive in my opinion in reality, and it is true what our pastors said here from texas, that, you know, everything is happening now, and if you don't understand that, you should read about the power of now. it's not to say the history doesn't matter. we carry it. it's in you. it's present now, nor is it to say that the future doesn't matter or we can't do something about it because what you do now will have a certain effect on the future, but it is now, and we live in an extraordinary time where the transparency is so tremendous that even the secretary of state has to go on the air waves and protest the terrible thing that wikileaks, the dispickble things that
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wikileaks has done, and yet, there's an analysis that says transparency may be the next big change we all have to accept, and what are the implications # of that? i mean, if you ponder that just for a few minutes, it's quite extraordinary of what could be happening, so for me when i look at the situation, every generation feels it lives in the worst of times and the best of times. we live in the worst of times and the best of times. i just came back from a city on the other side of the globe that has 21 million people living in it. the rule there, politically, is one order, one act. they built a bullet train that goes from one end of the country to the other inless than a year. that trip used to take six hours by boat, car, or train. the bullet train was built in less than a year and goes in
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less than 70 minutes from point a to point b. there's no race when talking about superpowers right now on that level when you talk about what a society can produce. i saw a play performed entirely on the surface of a lake in november with lights and boats and people running across the surface of the water, okay? there is no understanding, i think, in this country about how we are positioned right now. there is just no understanding. those of you who have families in other parts of the world have someceps of our position -- sense of our positioning, so the next political cycle is going to be very, very interesting in my view, and the next sort of opportunity for discourse is enormously important. it's going to happen in
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cyberspace. it's going to happen in real face-to-face opportunity. it's going to happen through books. it's going to happen through blogs, and the trick will be whether or not you remember this or this and whether or not -- i mean, this is just my opinion. it doesn't count for squat. it's just you invited me here. i'm on the panel. i'm expressing an opinion, so to remember as you go through all this information, am i this, left over right or right over left, do i know somebody that's the other? do i have a chan to process this stuff i'm seeing and what i ultimately think? now, what you ultimately then do, i would suggest to you is not going to be prescribed anywhere. we have to start understanding what is right and what is wrong and move with that, but we have to move with it in a way that is gentle. the other way to be brutal about
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it, to be mean-spirited about it, to be unkind at every moment, you lose that, and you could invite disaster. . to move in the proper way and i'm looking to leadership like mpac which holds the space really for the middle way.
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my teacher used to say to me angela do you know what the trick in life is? we try to walk as strata path as we can down a very crooked road called life. that is what mpac is trying to do, i think organizationally. that as i spin my impression of the organization and the leadership. >> thank you. salam. [applause] >> i wanted to get a response from rashad in terms of how do you deal with these marginalized communities right now? >> well, dressing this question rise in sentiment against religion certainly with regard to anti-semitism, anti-islamic sentiment, the conflation of terrorism is something that is dangerous. is something that feeds the narrative of terrorists who
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will.to those who say that there is a link between the usac. they are again arguing that islamic terrorism are the same so therefore there is no way of ridding this divide and that is something that you know we have tried to be very clear about and going back to cairo when the president made it very clear that when it comes to this issue of violent extremism islam is entirely opposed to it not only in cairo but after the massacre at fort hood, after the attempted terrorist attack on december 25, ken after the attempted terrorist attack in times square. you know we made a point very clear again and again and with regard to the question about authorization as i stated earlier it is important that when you look at reticular religious community to keep in mind of course there is a unique set of issues but at the end of the day the fundamental aspirations, the fundamental concerns are the same so to
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engage on the basis of those in when the president talked about this issue in a press con pence on the economy he said you know, we have, we have to be careful when we are talking about you know, communities like muslim communities whose kids are going to school with our kids who are a culture. he says i've got troops that are fighting alongside each other, some of whom are muslims and some of them are not. we act as if somehow islam is an insult -- in and of itself offensive and taking this head-on he said when it comes to these issues there is no them and us. it is just us so from a government perspective of course i think it is important to counter this narrative of islam somehow being conflated with terrorism. it is important to counter this narrative of the other and then
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as communities work together such as in this conference. it is important for communities to work together in coalition. it is important -- we have talked a lot about in terms of solutions civic engagement muslim communities working on issues that are of importance to all communities. the clinic in los angeles which provides health care services. that kind of engagement can transcend these barriers of religion and race and ethnicity of those are some of the areas of partnership we have also tried to establish. that is very important at a time when what you have, the increase in numbers and visibility of certain communities including muslim communities that we are able to achieve what we have achieved in the past in america. when you look at the question of conference what is the history of the united states the history of the united states is a proud tradition of tolerance winning over whether that is with
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african-american communities, whether that is with jewish communities, irish communities with hispanic communities, asian american communities. so that is a challenge that we face and one of the reasons why i remain optimistic despite challenges is because i see movement in the right direction and some of the areas i described before but also really because of you. that is something that i think mpac is really focused on. you know i come at this from a little different perspective. we have in my college years and in law school and graduate school, you know, just like in any other topic late-night conversations about philosophy, late night conversations about religion and the experience of young americans growing up in the generation of young people that is growing up now. they are growing up and going to school with muslims, playing with muslims being in bald and
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community service projects and other endeavors with muslims. they see islam i think in a different way perhaps then many americans thought just 20 or 30 years ago. that is not to say there wasn't as strong muslim presence that was engaged at that period too if you look at the numbers and the shift in demographics and the number of students studying in universities and organized in different communities of religion and working together that we now see in islam and muslims being integrated in universities, not only do you have a future core group of muslims that is that different directions than the ones we have seen 20 or 30 years ago but their fellow leaders of the future will also lead this country, they have a very different understanding of islam and muslim that we saw not too long ago in this country as well. so you asked about solutions. i think part of it is that there is a natural national movement that will occur i think in the
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right direction it is occurring but that is not enough. that is not sufficient. it is not appropriate to say let's just wait it out and things will get better. there are very real things that can be done in terms of civic engagement, part dissipation in coalition building and the elimination of this idea that somehow islam condones terrorism. we continue to work towards that issue. for muslim communities and other communities to continue to acknowledge that and recognize that and dialogue through that idea is extremely important. thank you. [applause] >> i just wanted to tag onto andrew's comment and i'm glad he got to go before me so i could tie them together. i haven't seen the wikileaks memo either but i agree that a deal was struck regarding the d.r.e.a.m. act and and and "don't ask don't tell," so my point is why one and not the other? i don't think it was -- you can have one but not both.
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i think this engagement question is key, that our congregation united church of christ is one of those that we call an open and affirming congregation to engage by sexual transgender persons. what i've learned through a church without experience is that those are conversations that are hard to deny within a family. look at cheney's family. the impact of "don't ask don't tell" is not just on the military. it is an impact on the humanity of every transgender in this culture and those conversations are hard not to have. we avoid them but there is more opportunity because in every family whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there are persons who are,, bisexual transgender samore and ask your extended family or your family
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tree. so for those who voted for "don't ask don't tell" whether they acknowledge it or not, those are conversations they have had and recognizing the impact on people that they love and care about. when you come to questions of immigration from mexico then the conversation as well, i don't know anybody. there is nobody in my family that is going to be impacted as directly as "don't ask don't tell" or what it means for a whole society so what you are saying about engagement is key, and so when there is no one on the other side of that conversation and all of this insane, maddening conspiracy theories and birther theories and takeover theories go unchecked by a dialogue partner, we are in a very dangerous space. so in many people's minds who subscribe to this american
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exceptionalism ideology, moderate muslims if they exist, doesn't matter. because moderate muslims and terrorists muslims simply have different strategies to the same goal which is domination, and they feel as if domination is happening whether it is an sharia law and they are going to take over our court system and when you were saying when you were a child and you were still a child that sounds like domination to me. when they project that acceleration of the expansion of the presence and they look at themselves and their own impetus and the fact is christianity as a whole is in a long, slow decline in its proportion of adherents within american culture. so they sense that in and they feel this decline and even though islam is a very small group they see it on the rise and when you go to 43, the rate
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of increase is astronomical and so they latch onto these things and they feel the only way to -- their feelings of is to strike at a people that they feel threatened them. >> bob. [applause] >> first of all i would say for the most part we deal with these problems by focusing on the head i disagree with that. i think we have to start with the hand and by that what i mean is when our congregation came together sitting down and talking about the new testament and debating that was not going to get us anywhere it also we had a class and we have learned to each -- food in my home and you still get fat eating bats so we have done that. we are building houses together and what happens is when you sweat together and you are working on common problems in the community you get close to people and do you know what? it is hard to take a shot at someone you are friends with so
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i took him deer hunting in east texas and i told him he can't wear his pakistani cap and an outfit of an islam and mom might get shot. so he assured me he would wear jeans and a t-shirt. i believe the key -- we are going to eat it. it is not pork. [laughter] i believe the key has got to be building relationships and that is not what we have done and here is the need of the day. the need of the day is not for more academic intellectual geopolitical people to sit down and talk. is for people who have the power of the masses, the clerics to do more than just preach sermons to mobilize their congregation to say hey i don't agree with you theologically. i don't accept mohammad as a profit. if i did i would be a muslim. i don't disrespect him. i'm on the koran for the third time now trying to understand it. we go back and forth.
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better not go there but it is based on what are we doing to build our city? we are pluralistic and every other way. the idea of talking to someone summon up a different faith is almost a compromise of your faith. it shouldn't be. if anything i want to be more literal in my understanding of the bible and what jesus said. i love people all the more but i would agree with ms. oh on two or three counts. first of all we are talking about an issue of immigration. you think about whether it is muslims coming to america or the muslims faith emerging in america or hispanic so the question is how do we handle migration because that is one of the great conversations of the world. i think the chinese did have a huge lesson because chinese don't always tell you what they are thinking. i work in east china and east asia but they smile. so they have, i am very serious about this, chinese prosper all over the world. like no other people on the face
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of the year. why? it is how they handled their difficulties. you don't know about it and it is kind of like gandhi was coming into this village and he saw this man. he is sitting there and he is afraid he is going to die and he looks very sad and four london coffee looks at him and says what is wrong with you? he says if you can't stand up for truth and smile and be happy about it just go home. you to our cause no good. the point is in the midst of your struggle smiled. even if you are hurting on the inside, smile. up, move your feet forward. that is why tell my kids if they are hurting. smile because people who smile, it is hard to throw rocks. i also want to agree with ms. oh. i am very optimistic about muslim relations in america. i know you all may think i'm crazy but i really am. let me tell you why. we are using the wrong yardstick to measure. we are saying it is like when the catholics change. that is like sunnis and shia's
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who get together. we may not get along real good but ultimately we are going to do it. neither is it like the irish are the italians. they were europeans. here's what you have to compare it to. please don't be offended by this but we are just having a conversation on this right? here is the reality. if you want to understand muslim relationships like i heard a muslim scholar. me away. most americans thought of muslims until they thought of mohamed ali. than we thought of iran and then we thought that scared us a little bit and then we began to see what was going on in the middle east and that really scared us and after 9/11 it hit us hard. don't compare how people are responding to islam by catholics or irish. instead you have to think in terms of pearl harbor. stay with me while i say that. here is why.
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what you had is the first attack on american continental soil since 1812. so you have got a lot of americans who are open-minded but now they see it and it scares them to death. they are thinking oh my word is this all muslims? so the result of that is there is a tremendous amount of fear. christina armen pour with interfering he built a tour. she said you have done all this work and nothing is changed in the last few years are you disappointed? i wanted him to say no i'm excited. think about it, we have no internment camps. no internment camps. and he listed all the things that happen to the japanese after pearl harbor. it was horrible and yet the reality is it is not better i agree but it is not worse and so it is like fernando said ultimately your place is coming and i agree with you rashad, we can't be still and we can't ignore it and i think the majority frankly people like me
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opening their churches and saying hey we want to get to know you and we want to get along. the thing i would say is when we do that please calm. we are not going to shoot you or we will not try to baptize you but you can't hold that is -- against us. i've had many muslims try to convert me. there is nothing wrong with that. we change ideas about everything else. so i frankly, know it is hard but i think you you are at a turning point in a healthy way. and see, right we are just talking so don't get upset with me but like most americans when they hear people come on television do you realize the impact of somebody like reading or rashad who is on the cameron said of a first-generation immigrant? all of a sudden americans can handle that. i will close with this one story about our friends. sue is a second-generation american-muslim indian. she is a very good friend of
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mine. love him to death. he lives in d.c. and has worked with the government and worked with president bush so i brought in to my church one sunday. he wore his cowboy boots, dark complected, so i get them up in front of our whole church and i said, and i didn't even call him by his name. i like your cowboy boots. i like these to me. in texas you have to understand what a casey is. i love johnny cash. you must be some baptist mexican who worked with president bush, right? so he goes no i'm an indian from california who is a muslim. everybody died laughing. they thought it was a joke. that it wasn't a joke. here is what freaked him out. he talks like us. he likes country music and what they were experiencing that we have not seen a lot of was second-generation american muslims that they can relate to
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and they thought, it is what you were talking about. >> be what do you think? pearl harbor? [applause] >> i disagree. [inaudible] i don't think the way we can look at it from a muslim growing up in this environment i don't think the way for me to see that this is everything is okay is because i wasn't thrown into concentration camp and that is very hard for me, and for me working with muslims to say you know it is fine as long as you were not in a concentration camp you are a-ok. that said, i am optimistic that i'm also very strategically optimistic. i think there is so much that needs to be done within our community and across communities. i itc immigration. that is a huge huge concern and i think what we are going to see
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in this next term in the next few years is the continuation of the politics where there will be a complacent of terrorism immigration and unfortunately islam were all three are going to be conflated and that is going to not only affects obviously the muslim community that affect the latino communities in many communities of color. for us as a muslim community is how can we work with one another? how can the muslim community work with the christian community and the jewish community and other ethnic communities in order to address this problem that we are still in, that we are still in america, we are still in this very nativist exceptional estate where we are constantly fueled by fear. how can we stop this fear from allowing policies that are emerging every day, allowing these policies that are being selectively enforced on certain populations to the exclusion of other populations that are now trickling down into the private sector and where we are seeing in the muslim community the highest level of employment
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discrimination ever more so now than after september 11. we are seeing more hate crimes now than before. that is something that i think we need to start thinking about and strategically how can we undermine the fear that is constantly being fed to the american populace that is allowing for continued, very very explicit figurative statements and targeting of populations based on not what i is an individual am doing or where it were doing that raised on this notion that islam and muslim is equated to a certain group of people across overseas that frankly i have never ever ever -- i have never met and i don't think i will ever meet. and so, for me as somebody who is so relatively young, that is something that i really want to see continuing in this country and working on from a civil rights to civil liberties
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perspective. how can we really undermined the sense of fear and using the rule of law to do that? i think that is absolutely fundamental and not taking pearl harbor out of the standard for taking the fact that i am american and i have constitutional rights and i have the right of due process, equal protection etc., that is my standard. that is what i look at. i don't look at the other experiences as a minority. i look at what i have a right to and what i will aspire to. [applause] >> also, just we are going to be taking questions so please write down your questions and given to the ushers and we will be taking your questions in this next part of our panel. >> i need to respond because i feel this passion, and it is righteous passion by the way. but a man named frank him he died last week who was 93 years old, it japanese american from
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world war ii. he was what we call a no-no boy. after they had turned all of the japanese americans after the bombing of pearl harbor, over a period of time of course politics, people are political, so politics played out in the camp. and question 21 and 22 or 22 and 23, 27 and 28. i knew it was in the 20s. they first asked for you to forswear any allegiance to any other government of the united states of america and the second asked you to fight for this country. so it was not popular to answer no, but those who did were labeled a no-no boy's and they were ridiculed, beaten, called traitors. their rationale was, how can i answer yes to these questions?
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my own government has just put me in camp. now they want me to go out and possibly die when my sisters and brothers, wives, sisters uncles are still in camps with no due process. i do believe it is possible for a society to become hysterical and make bad decisions again. so, in fact, i think what is very clear and heartens me is that the leaders of the liberations movement were among the first to support efforts to organize and give voice to a different analysis than what was coming to the mainstream media after 9/11. but, he was only recognized as a man of honor, and much much much later in life. guys like him more marginalized. hardly ever spoke of the experience to his own family members throughout his life.
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the kind of courage that it takes to file as plaintiffs named in a lawsuit, the kind of courage that it takes to within an agency that is going down a path on a policy that you'd know in your gut is wrong to say no, this isn't right invite will not be complicit in this. the kind of courage that it takes to speak up in the workplace to say this is not right. i'm not going to be complicit in i'm not -- is enormous. the job of new leaders is not to give more information. not to give necessarily skills. leaders. i'm not talking about people who are managing an organization. that i am talking leaders. you must know how to give fearlessness to other people. that is the greatest gift that you can give, fearlessness. [applause] and so you know what i want to just say is that in the
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government papers that were unearthed by dell and the asian law caucus guide to make 80s, they found the government saying things like we just can't tell the week from the chaff, the goat from the sheep. they knowingly, the united states attorney's office and the generals, the admirals who knew the intelligence data were telling them no evidence of espionage on the west coast. they knowingly suppressed it so that 120,000 people were ripped from their homes. and they have never really been properly redress. you go to palos verdes estates, most of that was japanese farmland, strawberry fields. those people never got their land back. do you know how much that property is worth now in southern california? i just you you you know want to thank you for doing this work because you are mostly going to be rejected and you are mostly going to lose as a civil rights lawyer.
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it has been that way since civil rights litigation has happened. brown v. board of education did not happen because thurgood marshall was such a brilliant lawyer. it happened because there were historians. there were psychologist, there were educators, they were community organizers. they'll make it possible and the stars were aligned. to happen just at that moment. at already been tried before writer in southern california trying to get desegregation and integration. at already happened in the 1800's. thurgood marshall, all of the stars were aligned and people were ready to move. you have to see yourself in context. you are part of a much larger movement in the universe. we are living in a time of spiritual awakening. your base is one that calls upon your spirituality to guide you.
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not your brain, not your degrees, not your business, not your bank account, not your influence, whatever you think that is. but your spirit. your human spirit to guide you. you all take a piece of it. some are healers, some are advocates, some are political, some are mothers and fathers and grandparents but you know every piece has to be happening and consciously now. i am consciously calling on people to recognize this in all of the work that we do. i should be in a community korean-based organization. i should be on the bench. i should be so many things that other people tell me what i should be but where do i find myself? in a nonprofit dedicated to building peace. how did that happen? it is not because i get her better paycheck than when i was a lawyer, let me tell you. so we have to have the courage to follow what our intuition is
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telling us right now because everything else is not going to take us true north. intuition will take is true north. you have to have the courage to go with that. [applause] >> the there are many questions. we are only going to be able to get to a few of them and then hopefully we will save the rest and maybe we can have all of you answer the questions on line on the mpac web site. one of the questions is, and i think going back to what angela is talking about, the next two years is going to be a rollercoaster ride for a lot of us. one of the changes that is going to happen because of the republican-led house of representatives is that a man by the name of peter king is going to be the chair of the homeland security committee. some people feel that he is going to have a mccarthy like set of hearings for the next few years, basically bringing on
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muslims and telling them that they are tied to terrorists, that because they are actively involved as muslims, therefore they must have ties to terrorism. and so the question is what should muslim americans be doing about it? we talked about coalition building. we talked about positioning ourselves in terms of the kind of issues that we should be raising. there is the issue of real terrorist plots by abdulmutalab that we should also be concerned about as well as the sting operations that dream had raised. so, who would like to discuss the issues that are going to be coming up on the homeland security committee for the next two years which definitely will have a political motivation as we get ready for the next presidential race for 2012.
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>> the main narrative is going to be to place again like angela says, is all about politics and electoral gains and there was one thing if the republicans obviously want to capture the white house, what to capture the senate and strengthened their position in the u.s. house and they will use their powers to try to position themselves as those that protect american security. it is easy to scapegoat certain groups and we have seen it before. how do we prepare for that? how we make sure that it doesn't become effective? some of it is not to play into their hands, but a lot of it is to develop a coalition. there are a lot of allies as they see this as a challenge. the democrats themselves are not going to want this to happen for a variety of different reasons. the republicans are going to try to make themselves the ones that protect america. not only protect america from
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foreign powers that protect america to look the way america looks 20 years ago. we all know that is impossible but that is what they are going to try to do and it is going to be very difficult. there of many -- republicans who are not going to want to play in tibet that they will be forced to play into that as we see today and in terms of the defeat of the d.r.e.a.m. act by the right wing. interesting from a political analysis the more the republicans are pushed to the right, the less likely they are to actually capture the white house and capture many of the senate seats. but it is a very interesting dialogue that they are going to be playing. i think the civil rights community and the ability of civil rights lawyers to try to have the american institution play by the rules is a good strategy. sometimes it is a long-term strategy. it is difficult but that is a good strategy right there as well.
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>> okay anybody subpoenaed has to get council. that council has to but there client testify. they say thank you very much, we decline the opportunity to appear. that has to happen as a practical matter otherwise once want to render you were on the record under oath and they can play with you and believe me when senate holds hearings the staff has done major press. they know all about you. they know about you before you come in so the questions become very pointed and difficult. the other thing, parallel should be happening if you have the organized bar associations all across the country. they need to have their antenna up about this if it is for real going to happen. the other thing that should happen is you should give equal justice work, equal justice society. these are very much advocates of civil rights and civil liberties. they will mobilize. this is a different era. >> yeah, fire the question correctly what should muslims
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do? i reject the premise of the question. it is not for muslims to do anything other than american muslims or muslim americans as i like to say have always done. to say what should we do suggest that something you have done has brought this circumstance about. and i reject that. and that was one reason why i know we are having fun and we are talking but the pearl harbor analogy was very disturbing to me. this notion that this collective guilt should be imposed on random american citizens for what some random other people did, it wasn't even the action of a particular government. >> what i was trying to say was we didn't respond in a hysterical extremist manner. great you are not in concentration camps, congratulations. that is not what i would say here. what i would say is we did not respond in the same extremist
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manner we did in the past. >> i was referring to hysterical but my point is, the real point of the answer is we, all of us who are americans, all of us have to claim this as a problem for america. we have got to say that this focus -- [applause] this mass hysteria is carrying our country apart. it is making us less safe. is undermining our ability to harness the resources of american children who want to make a contribution be they maxon american heritage or you can even call it islamic heritage. it is a religion and again not to pick on you but just to say that america like mohamed ali 30 years later, when mohamed ali changed his name from caches clay to mohamed ali america hated mohamed ali. when he denied the draft and then refuse to fight in vietnam america hated mohamed ali and when they thought of islam and mohamed ali they thought of
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elijah mohammad and malcolm x. it took a long time before mohamed ali became domesticated enough in that dimension for america to embrace them. the ultimate thing is about the willingness for america to change its perspective on who the hell it thinks it is. and whether or not we can exist in this world, respecting other nations, cultures, people, faith and live as in the world and in our society with an acceptance that we are not everything and not everyone has to become like us in order to be acceptable human beings, that we live here in this diversity and that this diversity is in fact our strength and this diversity is what makes america wonderful. [applause]
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>> there is a question to you from the west from someone in maryland who wants to ask, why does the american-muslim community seem resistant to accepting the notion that there are homegrown terrorists among us? how can we stop you from radicalization? >> beforehand to that question i have to say very quickly about peter king, these committees he wants to set up. i think it is very ironic that he is looking into this stuff. i was just looking at his own background and in fact he is somebody who supported the i.r.a. which is a terrorist organization in the 1980s. he actually finance them and he ran guns for them. it is very interesting that now he is turning around and trying to figure out, the reason he broke ranks with them in 2005 is because the iris didn't support the wars in afghanistan and iraq. that is the reason he broke ranks with them so i think it is very ironic he is turning around
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and wanting to do this mccarthy like investigation of the muslim community. and again this is a quick comment before i had to this question. i think the most powerful thing i have seen the past few years was the s.b. 1070 how the country came together. i thought that was incredible and i hope that it is something like this comes around as representative king is successful in setting up these committees that the whole country can come together and save not on our watch, we are not necessarily muslim but we are not going to allow this scapegoating of a certain population for your own benefit and promote this politics of fear. so i really hope we can re-create the s.b. 1070 environment at that time. as far as the question that was just asked to me, you know there is a resistance -- i do agree there is a resistance in accepting this homegrown terrorism. part of it, before i came there is looking specifically at the studies by the center of up on
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security and why do you. actually have a study where they said out of the 156 prosecutions terrorism prosecution, 97 of them involved fbi agents and former agent provocateurs. there is a concern i think within the muslim community that a lot of the stuff that we are seeing now is being either promoted, stage door and hands through the involvement of law enforcement and unfortunately, eric holder recently came out and said that he does not have a problem and he supports with the fbi is currently doing. there is a problem and clearly muslims are not like -- muslims are like any other population. they are criminals amongst us. they are good guys and they're a bad guys but the problem is what is the government doing and how is the federal fbi and agent provocateurs, what are they doing to enhance the narrative that really ties together this notion of islam and terror.
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when you have individuals who are clearly disenfranchised and who are clearly on the fringes, it is very troubling for me. i'm thinking specifically for example of the portland, the somali kid in portland. he was somebody that was very disenfranchised, somebody whose family was going through divorce and his father ended up calling the feds on him. so the feds came in and at that point, a few months later he was trying to basically low up this square in portland. that is very concerning, where you have somebody who is disenfranchised. i do we as a muslim community not have centers for at risk youth like they're at risk youth in our community and it seems that when they are taken through the law enforcement route they become subjects of terrorism and they become part of this terrorism narrative. so there is a resistance and i think that resistance is -- it
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is not realistic. we do have problems within our community that there is a tremendous amount of fear that i see and concern that i have with the level of interest of our community and the suspect nature of our communities that is really being promulgated and promoted by intelligence community as well. >> back to i guess somebody from the muslim group. i am a christian and a female. what can regular citizens like me do to bridge the tribal gap? as a woman i feel intimidated among muslims and that i may be rejected and/or my ideas would not be as valuable as a mail. overall this is an american problem too. >> will you know there are all the stereotypes about muslims and very similar stereotypes among latinos that we are male dominating an overbearing and don't allow women to take
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leadership roles. but as we all know and as you well know out there that couldn't be further from the truth. just some very specific data, there are seven latino members of congress from the state of california. five of them are women. in the state legislature, about four years ago, the last time i have had the data there were -- there are only 40 state senators in california. 10 of those are latino. five of them are women. today, in the l.a. school board, the largest school board, second-largest school board in the nation, a budget of over $6 billion there were seven school board members, three of them are latinos and all three of them are women. women have a role and you can do the same thing in the african-american community. of the three members of congress from l. they all three of them are women. so the idea that "nonwhite communities" , muslims latinos
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black stations dominate their women and don't let them take leadership positions, those groups together actually have more women empowered in california than white communities do so nothing could be further from the truth in terms of stereotype. [applause] >> anybody else? >> to reverend robert. are the fears of the right wing about islam and real or to spread fears and win the election? >> i am not afraid of muslim so i mean we have -- that her parents and we have terrorists are not limited to a particular race. so i don't fear muslims. i teach are people not fear muslims. when we had in our church, we had muslims come over. i did have some people get
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nervous. what are we doing for screenings and so forth. but in texas everybody has guns there. but we also, we had a global trade forum at our church and expected two or 300 people and we had over 700. the impact of that was phenomenal as people got to know one another. i think the biggest challenge there is we don't know muslims or people -- only get to know them that tension comes down. i think there are people -- okay, i am sorry. there we go. testing, one, two, three. i am sorry.
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okay, i would just say i don't buy it but i'm afraid of muslims. i think it hurts not just the muslim community. i think it hurts the broader community when we live lived in fear of people. we are a nation with a rule of law and i think we can count on that to prevail. >> i agree that civic engagement is key and is something i advocate in my own work, however it is my sense that muslim communities tend to isolate themselves and are reluctant to let themselves be known. we need to do some internal efficacy. also young muslim should be entering fields of media, journalism and politics. i guess he is complaining there are too many muslim doctors. [laughter] rashad. >> i would add sports to that too. maybe mohamed ali is not a great example that somebody like -- nobody asks where are you from even though he is ethnically
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algerian. the transformative impact that a young athlete can have by entering the home of people all across the country is something, the important of which can't be overstated. the same thing is true i think that the arts and entertainment, where i think much of the advocacy on issues oftentimes affecting muslim communities goes towards washington, when in reality it is really the people across the country, the people in middle america that have a lot of the questions that need to be addressed, and so here now activism and all of these, participation in all these fields including sports, the arts as you said. i do see a strong increase in civic engagement through organizations such as the coma clinic and organizations such as the imam in chicago which provides services again regardless of people's religious affiliation and it is not only
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the muslims that are working there but side-by-side with communities of other faiths as well so i do agree with that sentiment. but i also want to add the caution that i don't think it is quite fair to look at muslim communities and say that broadly speaking that engagement is not occurring, because i think that engagement is occurring at a number of levels and it is oftentimes not recognize. on the question going back to the issue of violent extremism, muslim communities are condemning terrorism. they are condemning violent extremism. organizations have been doing that for years and years and years. major scholars. you can look at people across not only this country but around the world. people with the requisite qualifications to issue rulings in this area have been largely unequivocal that islam is opposed to terrorism.
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so i also wanted to add one point going back to the previous discussion, is that how is it than that we continue to have some of these cases that are occurring when clearly the vast overwhelming majority of muslims have condemned it. the leadership has condemned it. it has been condemned as something that is anti-islamic. well it is because there is a small group of people using sophisticated means including social media, new media, that is exploiting the grievances of young people and getting to them and very sophisticated ways. in addition to civic and gauge meant and participation in all aspects of society i think it is also important and going back to the question of what can be done, the question we got from maryland, that muslim communities also continue to engage in sophisticated means to address this question and make it clear that there is no grievance, no policy grievance
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whatsoever that justifies the killing of innocent people. and i think that as muslim communities continue to do that in a sophisticated way as they continue to engage through civic engagements and other activities whether it is art, whether to sports, weather does entertainment and all all the skill to mention i think i will continue to be important and will be important not only in addressing some of the sentiment that we have seen but of course addressing the very real problems that i think we have to acknowledge does exist which is a problem of terrorism that must be eradicated from all communities. >> i agree with you there definitely is the problem of an extremist ideology that takes on an islamic veneer to gain popularity among muslims and muslims through the internet are being exposed to this problem so and peck has taken it upon itself to deal with this issue
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and i believe that the next panel is going to cover this issue of ideology and theology and a much more elaborate manner so i really welcome everyone to come to the next panel to talk about this issue of extremist ideology and muslim-american and scholars dealing with this problem. pastor madison many people call president obama's election as a movement in america towards a post-racial society, but there is a difference between post-racial and post-racist. are we in a post-racist society and should we be moving towards a post-racial society? maybe you can explain the difference. >> good question. i'm not sure i can say that difference but i can actually say we are in neither. we are still in a racist society. [applause] know, the election of president obama was historic and wonderful
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and great moment for america. there is no question about that, but he has a unique set of personal qualities that i have written about allowed him to succeed in this election. and his bi-racial background is not the least of them. and so, i see obama as a bridge toward a less racist society. the real and ultimate challenge is, when we can see each other and our difference and still be okay. it is probably more french than algerian and so the moment that these celebrities including obama come into our living rooms, they lose their differences, and that makes them acceptable and also exceptional and they leave their group behind to suffer still there
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racism and discrimination. i am telling you black folks have experiences experienced this for a long time. i have often lived a culturally gone to white schools and so on and that they will say to me, you are different. and so what you need to do is to not lose ourselves as we engage others so that they will like us, but to be who we are and really force the question of can you accept someone who is different within a diverse culture and except the gift of that different mess, and finally, the problem with it again so much emphasis on the muslim community and their responsibilities and how they engage come engagement is key. i don't deny that but there simply aren't enough muslims to engage all the people in the country. there simply aren't enough to have a bible study with and
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those who lead muslim congregations have other responsibilities than talking to christian pastors about why they shouldn't hate muslims. so it really has to be something we own as a real problem of racism, of discrimination, of xenophobia that we as a society have to solve. and one thing that was on this title that we really haven't talked about and mohamed ali analogy is the ethnic dimension of this. i have always teased you about the fact that many study showed that half of the muslim americans are black but when white america looks at any of the current athletes or with islamic names, some of them do it for personal reasons. others are muslim. america doesn't see them in the
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same category as we are talking about on this panel today. they don't see them as terrorist. they see them as black folks wh. in terms of their religion, they see them as athletes and so forth so there is an ethnic dimension that we have totally missed today that makes this problem and this question much more calm for gated even as confiscated as it is so i just wanted to throw it out there. >> one point i will add is part of the power of civic engagement which i think is important is that it allows muslim communities to tell an affirmative story of who they are and so they are talking out, talking about and acting out what it means to be muslim and anomalies talking about what islam is on. instead they are working with other communities and acting in a way which they believe is by their faith and living out what islam is and that means demanding as i mentioned in a program such as the oma clinic or the inner-city action network
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so you said it is a bit unfair to say that the primary job of the muslim community is to constantly just play defense and condemn what a small fraction of the community is doing and the communities have largely done that. overwhelmingly. but there is an importance do you know, of course telling the story in an affirmative way, creating that affirmative discourse and civic engagement is one of the ways of doing that. >> i just want to say something quickly about what you are saying madison and i'm glad you talked about the racial divide within a community. unfortunately whenever we talk about muslims or the media talks about muslims they just look at the immigrant populations. that look at african-americans but unfortunately one thing that is really also struck me is that even when there is an exposé of african-american -- i'm thinking specifically of detroit and that
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he was again framed within the lens of terrorism because again they had to connect him back to islam and the whole rhetoric narrative behind islam. so there is still unfortunately even despite the racial divide, there is still that connecting narrative, that unfortunately we really need to try to work on and i'm very glad to hear that the ownership you are taking as an individual and your community to try to work on that behalf, think it is very important that other communities also support and work and also support and work with other communities on the various issues that we are all facing. >> we are going to take that question i think and also send that to the next panel in terms of ethnic makeup of the african-american community, african-american component of our muslim-american community as we will have those on the next panel and they will have an introspective look at some of
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the issues that we have been talking about. i think this has been quite an eye-opening panel. we have discussed a number of issues, namely the issues have changed and how we all have to be repositioning ourselves to have a discussion about this issue. the issue of which some goes on top the writer that left in terms of using reason and the heart. the issue of demographic shifts and some of the political issues that are political leaders unfortunately will trade-off our rights, not just civil rights but our human rights and throw us a bone once in a while to appease us to think that there is change being made. but most importantly what i think this panel represents is a cross-section of america. [applause] a cross-section of who we are.
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and regardless of our ethnic ground, regardless of our religious background, what we are committed to is justice and if there is injustice against anyone, violence against and, ganz, against christians, against muslims, ganz african-americans, latinos. if there is marginalization against anyone we stand together in unison in saying that is wrong and we stand together in unison in saying that the greatness of america and the greatness of where we all come from is working together for justice. said thank you very much. [applause]
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